Performance Office Papers recently completed a massive installation of solar panels on the roof of its offices and plant in Lakeville. The panels are capable of generating 200,000 kilowatts of power, about 20 percent of the paper-converting company's needs, according to president Russ DeFauw.

The company, founded in 1985, has a workforce of 71 at its 160,000-square-foot facility at 21565 Hamburg Av. The company takes huge rolls of paper from mills -- sometimes pre-punched and perforated -- and cuts or converts them into individual sheets for the office supply market.

DeFauw said it will take about eight years for the $750,000 project to pay for itself. Meanwhile, the company will benefit from tax breaks for investing in energy-saving equipment, including a federal investment tax credit and accelerated depreciation.

DeFauw said he'd been considering the switch to solar power for several years and ultimately decided to move ahead with the project because he thinks it's consistent with the company's overall approach to sustainability.

Among other things, the business recycles all its paper-product waste as well as wood pallets, plastics, cans and bottles. It also seeks to use less material in its paper-converting processes.

City adopts business maintenance standards

Mendota Heights is taking steps to keep commercial properties from falling into disrepair and potentially hurt neighboring property values.

The City Council last week approved a new ordinance requiring owners to maintain building exteriors, including facades, chimneys, doors and windows. The measure also says exteriors can't have an "unreasonable accumulation of rubbish and garbage."

The new code, scheduled to go into effect Saturday, also spells out rules for planting and maintaining trees and shrubs on commercial properties.

Room for more dogs in Eagan

An Eagan dog-boarding business is asking the city for permission to increase the number of pets it can handle.

Wagging Tails Pet Resort has seen its business grow since opening two years ago at 3275 Sun Drive, according to owner Keith Olson. The dog-care facility occupies about 17,000 square feet of a 20,000-square-foot building and also has outdoor runs.

The business is licensed for 95 dogs but would like the city to allow it to handle up to 125. A filing with the city's planning department indicates the business already has made interior and exterior renovations that would accommodate the increase in capacity.

Large parcel goes on the block

An investors' group that once owned the land where Lakeville South High School now stands is selling an adjacent 39-acre parcel and is open to proposals that would include co-developing the site.

Larry Debelak, an Apple Valley resident and one of the partners, said the investors group bought the land near Interstate 35 and Hwy. 70 in 1973. About 12 years ago, the partners sold about 90 acres to the school district for the high school.

Debelak said the investors have been growing corn and soybeans on the remaining land mainly to generate some cash flow. The site is zoned for office park development, according to a marketing brochure from CB Richard Ellis, which is listing it for $4.5 million.

Debelak said he believes the recent opening of a Wal-Mart near the site could generate some interest in developing the parcel.

Please send your Dakota County business news to Susan Feyder • 952-746-3282